hello hello a person finally
ask a question
get an answer that is no answer
leads to questions why the language
so confusing obfuscation is the nation
pastime making simple things so difficult
and mama always said you catch more flies
with honey but the money is what talks today
and even that is not enough
to make a person care to share
the knowledge that they hoard as though
their very life depends on keeping little piles
of facts so deeply buried harried then the conversation
takes a turn on contemplation seems to me
that spelling out the answer would save time
the goal the whole thing reeks
I do not seek to make you less to make you
miss the most important part to hide
if service is what you provide then
I propose machine is broken just a token
of the way things should be done
it grinds to dust instead of oil
you turn to rust
We all sell customer service, no matter what our job title. Whether we know it or not. From the customer side of things, if you make my life easier, you get my business. If I call you, frustrated and confused, and you give me a simple answer, I sigh with relief and sing your praises to everyone I know. If I approach you with a problem, fearful that it will be difficult or expensive to solve and you respond with a calm answer and do not make me feel ignorant or needy for asking, my entire mood changes and I respond in kind.
If I take my car to the mechanic, I am afraid it will be something difficult and expensive to fix. When he smiles and tells me it is just that little thingamabob that needs adjusting or a simple twenty dollar part, I am happy, relieved, and more likely to take the car back to him when the big stuff goes wrong. I will also pass his name out to friends.
I find this in my own job all the time. I fix computer problems. If someone has a question or a problem with their computer and I show them how to easily rectify the issue so that they can avoid the problem in the future, in a nice way that allows for them being intelligent human beings, just not possessing the particular piece of information they need in the situation, they remember not just that I fixed their problem, but that I was nice. I have a rep. I LIKE having that rep. I like being known for being nice. I like sharing information with others. I like oiling the machinery of every day life.
It seems to me that some folks take pleasure in being rust. The old saying “the buck stops here” meant being accountable, being responsible, being the solution. The present meaning for that saying is more like end of the road honey. No answers here.
Unless you get mean or shout or threaten or make yourself such a nuisance that the person finally, slowly, painfully, drags out the one little piece of information that is needed to remedy the situation and make the customer go away.
I have had to deal with Workers Comp for the last three months. I should not complain because this injury has rasped up some expensive bills that I fortunately have not had to be responsible for and I am truly grateful. really I am.
However…it has been such an ordeal to get information. Nearly every single time. I end up with the frustration coming through in my voice. I end the call angry and often more confused that when I began.
The only time I have gotten clear and fast results was when I got ugly.
For example…After the second surgery on my foot to remove the metal that was placed there to begin with and deal with the infection that had set in, I was, for the weekend at least, the only patient at the surgery center. The surgery took place on a Friday with the understanding that I would probably stay over night. I stayed the weekend with the understanding that I would be going home on Monday. I sent the husband home. No need for him to sit around while I napped and read and watched HGTV. He drove the ninety miles back on Monday and sat there all day ready to drive me home. There was a problem. I finally told him to go home and I would call him when they were actually sure I was being discharged. Tuesday rolled around. I sat. I waited. I think the nurse finally hated to come to my room because even if I didn’t ask out loud my face showed my frustration.
Finally, I got on my knee scooter and went down the hall searching for a decent signal on my cell phone. I found one on a bench in front of the cafeteria. I called my Workers Comp case worker. He was not in. I explained in detail what my problem was.
I am sitting on a bench in front of the cafeteria so I can have a phone signal. My post op foot is hanging out for any opportunistic bacteria that might wander by to jump on board. My hair and clothes are dirty because I thought I would be home by now. The hospital wants to send me home. I want to go home. The problem seems to be you. This is a very nice hospital. Very expensive. If you wish to continue to foot the bill for me to stay in what is the equivalent of a four star hotel where they will bring me Rosa’s Migas and French Vanilla coffee in the morning, then so be it.
A moment later I was speaking to a supervisor. Evidently the person at the hospital had submitted paperwork for pre-authorization. This supervisor had initialed it and sent it back saying she did not think it required pre-authorization. Her tone suggested that these people did not know what they were doing. I could have asked why she did not note along with her initials that rather than contact the pre-authorization company that she needed to contact Risk Management. I could have asked why there seem to be separate entities for each step of this process and that why none of them seem to be aware of what the other is doing. I could have. I didn’t. I simply asked her if I could have her name and told her I would go back to the desk and ask that the appropriate person contact her so we could resolve this. She seemed reluctant but gave me her name and twenty minutes later I was calling my husband to tell him to come get me.
Two days of me sitting there and Workers Comp paying and all it took was me calling and fussing.
Why was that necessary?
I have had a knee scooter nearly the whole time. It has been a life saver. I seriously think that if I had to manage crutches in the middle of the night, half asleep and in the dark, just to get to the bathroom, I would have been in a lot more serious trouble.
I asked the doc for a prescription for the knee scooter because that was what my case worker told me I needed. The doc’s office person ace me a pamphlet for a place in Dallas. I went to a place here near home and rented one for a week myself, just to see if I could manage it. When I found that I really did need the thing, I called the place I rented it and said I need to keep this, and it is workers comp. The person I talked to said they had never billed this as a workers comp item. (Keep in mind that they do crutches and other durable medical items so it would be the same process).
I spoke to someone in town who understands workers comp and verified that it would be the same. Now I am getting bills from them. I called my caseworker. After ten minutes of my asking for clarification it turns out that my only recourse at this point is to pay for the thing outright, obtain the needed prescription from the doc and a receipt from the medical supply provider, and hope workers comp will reimburse me.
At the very start I needed information that I received too late for it to be of any help. I needed things to happen in a certain order. I needed steps.
I SHOULD have had that information two and a half months ago. I did not because I was being nice and trying not to be a bother which is what I have felt like every time I have had to call.
I also was told that I could call the Workers Comp commission and ask questions at any time. I am thinking that is another piece of information I should have had several months ago.
I am not sure I would have known what questions to ask. That is a problem I often see in my own job. I get an email where someone is having a problem. Experience has taught me that often what they are asking is not what they need to ask. My process is to either read between the lines and answer what I believe they actually mean, or ask more questions if I am unsure.
At no time in this process have I had anyone tell me I was asking the wrong questions, nor has anyone asked me questions to determine what I really needed to know.
The general feeling has always seemed like the person at the other end of the line was trying to give the shortest answers or least amount of information needed to get me off the line. Period. Somewhere there may be a training manual that teaches how to handle as many calls as possible in as short a time as possible. It does not seem to focus on solving problems, quality rather than quantity.
We are sacrificing quality for quantity and we are all paying the price, from the client who either does not get what they need unless they are angry and determined enough to fight for it, to the provider who will never go home at the end of the day with a feeling of satisfaction from a job well done, knowing they have solved problems and made people’s lives easier.
We have become a society that no longer oils the machinery to keep things running. We are getting rusty.